Record Warm Sunday, But A Rainy Week Ahead

January 14, 2018

8pm Sunday

Today was a “January Scorcher” with temperatures in the metro area running 10-15 degrees above normal.  We were just two degrees short of our 60 degree record

Todays Observed Highs OrWa 2017

Salem, Hillsboro, & Astoria all broke records for the date

Record Highs Cities

What a change from last year eh?  The first two weeks of January are the warmest in 12 years in Portland, meanwhile the first two weeks of LAST January were the coldest in 38 years.

Winter Snow_Ice Compare

The next 3 days remain mild, although temps will be much closer to normal.  Clouds thicken tomorrow and a cold front moves inland in the evening.  This will stop the snowmelt in the Cascades; it’s been in the 40s up there since yesterday morning at the ski areas.  Note the snow depth at the lower part of Timberline Ski Area (the SNOTEL site) is the 2nd lowest of the last 10+ years:

Mark Mt Hood Snowpack January 1

The good news is that we finally see a change coming for building the mountain snow pack.  Several much cooler systems arrive Thursday through at least early next week.  That turns things wetter in the lowlands, plus a bit cooler.  See the big drop in snow levels on Thursday?

ECMWF Snow Level From 850mb Temps

In the mountains we should finally, for the first time in over a month, see a rapidly building snow base.  Check out the morning Euro model run estimate of snowfall from now through Saturday evening; 2-3 FEET in the Cascades during that time.  Almost all of this falls after Wednesday:

ECMWF Snow Accumulation

These will be colder systems moving onshore, but they will be accompanied by “onshore” flow, which means a breezy west or southwest wind with each.  That’s why I don’t expect snow in the valleys for now.

As of now I’m not sure if this is “the big change” to La Nina conditions or just a week of cooler/wetter systems.  We’ll see about that.   To sum things up, I think there are several key points for the next 7 days:

  1. IT’S GOING TO TURN WETTER THIS WEEK
  2. SKIING/SNOWBOARDING WILL BE MUCH BETTER NEXT WEEKEND
  3. SNOW IN THE LOWLANDS APPEARS UNLIKELY IN THE NEXT 7-10 DAYS
  4. SNOW IS LIKELY AT SOME POINT ABOVE 1,000′ IN THE FOOTHILLS AND COAST RANGE IN THE NEXT 7-10 DAYS

Here’s my Government Camp forecast, along with snow forecast for the ski areas at Mt. Hood (lower snow #s are for Govy, higher #s up around 6,000′)

7 Day Forecast GOVT CAMP

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen